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Quotation of the Day…

… is a comment from yesterday at Marginal Revolution; it’s by my colleague Dan Klein and refers to Tuesday’s Conversation at the Mercatus Center between Tyler Cowen and Jeffrey Sachs:

The discussion was outstanding.

I’d like to leave a thought for Professor Sachs: Your diagnostic approach to economic problems is wonderful. The conversation opened with a great analogy to your wife, a pediatrician, and ended with how to change graduate economics. The message was to cultivate an understanding of cases, pathological factors, so as to sharpen and deepen the economist’s aptitude in diagnosing and treating real world economic problems. All this is very sensible, even beautiful — I say that with no irony whatsoever.

What upsets me and so many other Smith-Hayek liberals is that left-liberal economists are so malfeasant in their economic doctoring. In domestic policy, we have case after case after case of economic meningitis — namely, over-governmentalization of social affairs — and left-liberal economists simply don’t treat the case, or treat it wrongly. The economic doctors should be opposing large sways of the regulatory state (for example, practically all so-called consumer protection restrictions) and government-ownership of resources (such as schools, hospitals, infrastructure and other plainly excludable services), but they aren’t. You are right about ideological bias being the dominating force in the case of Paul Krugman, but that problem applies much more generally.